Forty is the New Forty

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When you’re twenty, you listen to popular music. When you’re thirty, you discover different kinds of music. When you’re forty, you listen to the music you grew up with. – Galanty Miller

When a friend turned forty, she posted photos of herself of Facebook. She looked great, for her age— a euphemism for women with flabby Brazilian butts and men sporting four-and-a-half packs, which in our youth-obsessed culture, is a compliment women and men alike covet. The photo, which garnered many likes and complimentary comments was captioned, forty is the new twenty. Is it?

My twenties were a time of finishing school, getting my first job and navigating the workspace, getting married and raising a family, and defining and redefining who I was according to the roles I played. In retrospect, I was finding myself, although I did not then know it; did not know there were still plenty heartbreaks and joys to experience. In my twenties, mortality was far, invincibility near. This is as it should be, I think. Life is a series of experimentation, and my twenties was peak season.

Done right, the experimentation of the twenties lead to consolidation around the forties where finally one accepts that just because it is fashionable does not mean that it is right for me. Twenty is a marketer’s dream, the landscape fluid and accommodating undergirded by credit cards. Forty is like marrying a man who squeezes toothpaste from the middle of the tube. If his hands slip to the end, more often than not, they find their way back to the middle. He has come to know, there are no prizes for pressing the tube, only clean teeth.

I understand that when we say forty is the new twenty we mean that the person in question does not look forty. But what does forty look like? Old? What is old? Grey hair, wrinkled skin, poor sight, and an abbreviated gait? The fountain of youth begins in our minds not our bodies. Forty is confidence, and confidence is attractive. Forty is finding the balance you sought for in your thirties. For me, forty is peace brought on by my faith.

My twenties were great; I will not pass that road, littered with people pleasing and tangled apron strings, again. I do not want to. Older is not automatically wiser, but in my forties I see the link between the choices I made in my twenties and the fall out in the years since. Making the connection enables me make informed choices for the years ahead.

Experience is not the best teacher. It can be a good teacher, but an expensive one. If forty were to be the new twenty, then it should be twenty with experience and then the real twenty somethings can learn from the future, from those who have gone ahead of them.

The only thing I want from my twenties? My super fast metabolism, and that only on days I feel vain. The view from my forties is great. I hear it gets better in the fifties, until then, I am wearing my forties like a badge.

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2016

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